This week, our beloved Utah State legislature has taken an enormous step towards state mandated head-sand-burial, by passing an archaic law that would forbid public schools from addressing sexual education from any angle other than from DON'T EVER DO IT EVER UNLESS YOU'RE MARRIED. Oh, and also mentioning in a class that homosexuality is a thing that some people do, would also lead to a burning death at a stake, surrounded by fiery torch wielding moral-champions from capitol hill.
I understand that, because most members of our state congress are part of a particular religion, that sometimes we are going to get laws that feel very theocratic. But really? This? THIS ONE?
Obstructive, obnoxious laws that make acquiring alcohol either more difficult, or more expensive for those responsible adults who wish to partake of said wicked, vile liquid, are one thing. That is a mere annoyance. Legislating policy that has vast, destructive, life-altering consequences for teens, and the state as a whole, is something on a totally different plane. A really, really embarrassing, unbelievably sad, how-in-God's-name-are-we-having-this-debate-in-2012 kind of plane.
Let me clarify something really important: there is nothing wrong with emphasizing teen abstinence as the best, surest, safest route to avoiding unwanted pregnancies and STD's. HOWEVER—and this is a really big, really important however—some kids are going to have sex anyways. They need to be informed that, should the unthinkable happen, and on prom night, little Bobby forgets that he has to pass the sacrament the next day, and Sarah forgets that she has to give the prayer in sacrament meeting, that MAYBE—just maybe—one of them will remember that "the girl on top can't get pregnant, because gravity saves the day" rumor was debunked in sex ed class. And maybe they will resort to dry humping (Levi-sex, zipper sparking, DFing, whatever the kids are calling it these days), as opposed to the real thing. Which everyone—the state tax payers, the Bishop, the parents, Bobby and Sarah, and all of the potential, unrealized Bobbys blown all over the inside of his pants—can be grateful for.
Rejecting abstinence-only education does NOT mean you support teenagers having all of the sex. It just means you care about the ones whose parents are too stupid or too afraid to explain that if a penis accidentally falls into a vagina, a baby/STD might get in there.
I understand that a lot of people worry about "some teachers injecting their morality into the lessons," and whatever. But how that is somehow worse than the entire STATE forcing a moral blanket to be wrapped around EVERYONE, is beyond my comprehension. I get it—some people don't want their kids learning about sex from a teacher. TOTALLY COOL. YOU CAN OPT OUT. But to bar sexual education from everyone, because some think that an "if we don't talk about it, it will all go away/wont exist" policy is best.
So...should we stop teaching about the effects of drugs in school? Oh no! If a kid hears about the existence of a particular drug, then he or she will DEFINITELY be more interested in using it! We better just pretend they don't exist, and if a student asks about them, say "Sorry. Just don't do them. That's all you need to know."
This bill WILL cause teen pregnancies to escalate. This will WILL foster the spread of STD's.
Let parents and churches teach teens what is moral and what isn't, involving sexuality. But let the schools educate teens about how all that stuff works, so just in case those kids end up accidentally following their natural urges, and have some brief moral lapses, they at least might not create babies, and spread around some really cool diseases.
I teach 15 year olds with children. Children, who have children. Contrary to what common sense dictates, being a teen parent doesn't really help them succeed in life. Many of these kids fall through the moral cracks, as well as the educational. PLEASE—let's not make the educational crack into a gaping pit, welcoming any and all who aren't lucky enough to have parents who give a shit.
Give Herbie a call, or shoot him an email, and let's help him make the responsible choice to veto this bill.
801-538-1000 or 800-705-2464,